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Bravely Default’s Temporal Strata

Videogame time is weird. Though all manner of clocks and timers, whether computational or diegetic, drive play, time rarely operates in games as it does in real life. Even games that pride themselves on 'realistic' day/night cycles—games as varied as Assassin's Creed, Minecraft, and Forza Horizon—tend to compress these cycles ...

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Stencyl Tutorial Series: Blockade (Part I)

For our introductory tutorial, we will use Stencyl to replicate the 1976 arcade game Blockade. Blockade is an early precursor to Snake and its ilk, minus the touch-an-item-to-grow mechanic. Each player controls a growing wall, or blockade, steering its leading edge around the screen in an attempt to avoid colliding ...

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Unforeseeable Sentences

Last month, professor and media theorist Jay Bolter wrote a short post called 'Browsing culture' that rebuts a refrain commonly heard from fans of physical books. He writes, 'One of the criticisms one hears over and over about the digitization of the library is that it will eliminate the element ...

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A Haze of Bizarre Angles

A Visual Essay on Michael Mann's Manhunter (1986) In his 1986 review of Michael Mann's detective thriller Manhunter, Chicago Tribune critic Dave Kehr described the film as one 'in which government offices sport $900 designer lamps, every building is a masterpiece of post-modern design and an FBI agent, a reporter for ...

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Walkthrough vs. Speedrun

On the spectrum of play between contemplation and corruption. While watching the E3 2014 coverage on Twitch this week, I restrained myself to a brief, six-tweet burst. As an Ubisoft employee demonstrated the latest Assassin's Creed sequel—now a yearly tradition—I mused about the 'genre' of the developer walkthrough. The gist is ...

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